Author: Cailyn Schiltz
Plaza Tavern & Grill reaches out for financial support via a GoFundMe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plaza has been a staple in the Madison experience since the 1930s, according to bartender Ian Miller. Patrons come to Plaza for the jukebox, secret sauce and drink specials, but stay for the camaraderie and good vibes.
Patrons can hear indie hits such as Electric Feel by MGMT and The Less I Know The Better by Tame Impala on the jukebox. “[My favorite thing about Plaza is that] you can curate what you want the experience to be. You can dress up and be highkey or you can bring games to play with your friends. You can also show up in jeans and a sweatshirt. At Plaza, you fit in no matter what. It’s a bar anyone can feel welcome going to,” said Jess Gregory, UW student and Plaza regular. Image courtesy of Jess Gregory via Instagram.
“Thursday nights at Plaza Tavern meant having all of your friends from different aspects of your life in the same room. No matter how busy we all were during the week, we were always guaranteed this one night during the week to spend quality time with each other,” said Natalie Mattia, UW student and Plaza regular. “I can’t remember a Thursday where I was disappointed by who was in my presence (or the taste of a long island).”
Plaza is so important to the UW-Madison student population that it ends up in some graduation pictures. “I spent every Thursday evening between Jan. 2019 and March 2020 at Plaza. I made a lot of memories there, and most of them were good,” said UW alum Alex Collins. Image courtesy of Alex Collins, via Instagram.
The revenue from the GoFundMe will go towards costs to keep the bar open. Delivery and carryout revenue has only covered a fraction of the overhead costs. Bartenders Ian Miller, Dean Hetue, and Erica DeRosa have been volunteering their time without pay to serve customers during the pandemic. Once those overhead costs are taken care of, the Plaza Tavern & Grill will then hire new staff in preparation to safely open.
Miller and DeRosa were ready to take the reins and co-own the bar before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to Miller.
Plaza has also been a warmly memorable space for staff, too.
“I had such an amazing work experience with this crew! From the secret sauce, to the Peanuts song & dance, and the warm hearts of Erica, Ian, and Dean. So many “remember when…” conversations about the Plaza,” commented GoFundMe donor Kimberly Meehan. “Madison doesn’t exist in my mind without it. Thanks for everything!”
The GoFundMe has already raised $11,137, but Plaza is aiming for $75,000 to save the beloved bar.
“The Plaza needs your help to remain alive. Whether you donate yourself or send the link to all your friends, you can’t imagine how much it is appreciated,” said Miller in the GoFundMe. “Thank you for being part of The Plaza legacy!”
Madisonians can support The Plaza Tavern & Grill by donating to the GoFundMe, buying merchandise, and ordering food for carryout or delivery via EatStreet from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.